"Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather, and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know." - John Keats

"You're not allowed to say anything about books because they're books and books are, you know, God." - Nick Hornby

Monday, August 8, 2016

Review #34: Body Movers, by Stephanie Bond

I downloaded Body Movers as an audio book to keep me company on my commute because sometimes I think that all I do is drive, and there's only so much NPR I can listen to during election season without wanting to tear my hair out. Body Movers seemed like it would be a darkly funny little diversion but it was... not. It was actually almost sort of painfully dull.

Carlotta Wren works in the couture department of Neiman Marcus in the Atlanta mall. Her younger brother, Wesley, is nineteen and in trouble for hacking in to the Atlanta police department's database. The police department thinks Wesley was fixing a traffic ticket; in reality he was looking for information about his parents, because Mom and Dad disappeared in the middle of a trial (for... extortion? embezzlement? something like that...) when Carlotta was just nineteen, leaving her behind to raise Wesley. Wesley becomes involved with Coop, the local body mover (I guess the coroner doesn't do that any more?) and Carlotta goes with him on a call to remove the body of Angela Ashford, who just so happens to have tried to strangle Carlotta earlier in the day after accusing her of having an affair with Angela's husband Peter, who was engaged to Carlotta a million years ago but broke it off after her parents ran away. So now Peter (the husband) is suspected of the murder, Coop has the hots for Carlotta but it's weird cause he works with her brother (who, by the way, has a gambling problem), and it's also weird because in his spare time he builds miniatures in cigar boxes (like...dioramas, I guess?), Peter wants Carlotta back after all these years, even though he's on the hook for Angela's death, and oh, by the way, the cop who is investigating the murder has the hots for Carlotta, too. And it turns out that Angela was a high dollar hooker and that's why she was killed.

So there's a lot going on.

I think that Body Movers (and the subsequent series) was supposed to be kind of a like a coroner's version of Stephanie Plum, but it just wasn't funny. Janet Evanovich, for all that she's been kind of phoning it in lately, can still write mad-cap adventures and wacky highjinks. Body Movers was just too dull and too serious, and Carlotta had about as much personality as a wet dishrag. I couldn't understand why she had three men chasing after her. Peter Ashford made sense, because he was pretty dishrag-esque, too, but Coop and the detective had potential for so much more. I wanted to reach in to the book and pull them out and give them better material.

There are (at least) seven of these in the series; I have no desire to read any of the others. I'd rather listen to the news again.

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